Of Parents and Children by Francis Bacon
The essay discusses parents and their fear over their children. Additionally, It also deals with the pros and cons of parents. Every parent wishes to know how to raise or interact with his or her children. According to Bacon, parents’ joys, regrets, and anxieties concerning their children are private and personal, as they are not shared with others. Bacon has highlighted the flaws of parents toward their children in this essay, such as unequal favouritism, illiberality, and the promotion of a rivalry spirit; he has also attempted to offer some counsel to parents. For instance, parents are encouraged not to make distinctions in their love for their children, as this is deemed undesirable. It is inappropriate for children to express their preferences regarding their children. In a large family, the eldest child often receives the most attention, while the youngest child is frequently spoiled. The middle-grounders are frequently overlooked, yet frequently prove to be the best of the bunch.
Bacon also emphasised the importance of parents not being miserable when it comes to pocket money for their children. This is detrimental because it will take them down crooked and dishonest paths and leave them vulnerable to overindulgence later in life if they become prosperous. Although authority should be exerted, pocket allowances should be generous. Another unethical technique is to instil in children a competitive mentality. According to Bacon, parents should discourage the attitude of rivalry between brothers, as rivalry will inevitably result in jealousy, which will evolve into hatred. When they become adults, this act will cause discord in the family. Bacon uses the Italians as an example: “The Italians make no distinction between their close relatives, such as their nephews, and their own children.” This is warranted because a nephew can occasionally exhibit a stronger likeness to a person than his own child does.
According to Bacon, parents should select a career for their child that is suitable for them. The decision should be taken early in the child’s development, while he or she is still malleable. Any early distaste for the career felt by the youngster will be overcome through tradition. If, on the other hand, the child’s propensity is strongly opposed to the profession of the parent’s choice, he may be let to make his own option. Younger brothers often turn out well since they are motivated to work hard. If the elder sibling is disinherited and the younger child hopes to inherit a large sum of money, this motivation is removed.
Bacon begins the essay with some intriguing insights. These observations benefit from the fact that they are accurate. Parents, without a doubt, are unable of expressing their delight over their children. Similarly, they are unable to communicate their grief and worry in terms of their children. Indeed, children both sweeten and bittern parents’ labours. However, it is difficult to concur with Bacon’s assertion that the noblest accomplishments and foundations have been accomplished by childless men. The essay’s succinctness is exceptional. It is written in an abbreviated format. It falls under the topic of Bacon’s perspective on man’s relationship with the world and society. The subject is widely popular and provides some undeniably excellent advice on child-rearing. This demonstrates Bacon’s razor-sharp intuition. While the issue could easily be emotive, Bacon views it objectively. As is customary, he compiles a list of the benefits and drawbacks that parents face. Bacon did not appear to view children as a valuable contribution to society.